McAfee report says: Spam e-mails killing the environment

While I can’t comment on the science behind McAfee’s study, if it’s to be believed, that would make Sendio the single most eco-friendly anti-spam product on the planet!

Hot off the digital presses… Spam e-mails killing the environment, McAfee report says

McAfee’s Avert Labs recently reported the significant impact that spam is having, not just on our inboxes, but on the environment. The novelty of this angle aside, shouldn’t people be asking themselves how is it possible this problem has been allowed to get so bad? Let’s assume we like the idea of elevating spam to a place where it is considered to be an environmental hazard (I think its even worse — more like an environmental disaster — but the promotion is long overdue), clearly the time has come to ask “who has been asleep at the switch?”

Back in the 1970’s it became obvious that air pollution was caused, to a large extent, by exhaust from automobiles and trucks. Once this fact had been established, the question became… “What are we going to do about it?” If air pollution had been addressed like email pollution, we would have simply trusted the auto manufacturers to make things better. In light of today’s study from McAfee, I think it is safe to say that anti-spam filters = auto manufacturers. While the automobile industry has certainly made great strides in the areas of fuel efficiency and emissions, they have never come close to getting ahead of the curve or actually fixing the problem.

Just like the US auto industry has failed to keep pace, from an innovation perspective, with their competitors around the globe, the developers of anti-spam filtering technologies have, obviously, failed to keep pace with spammers. As Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same things, over and over again, expecting different results.” Like the US auto industry, the US anti-spam filtering industry is bloated, stuck in the past, is stagnant, and is losing the arms race to the bad guys.

Fortunately for us, the challenge to improve air quality was not simply “trusted,” or handed-over, to the auto industry alone. We realized that individuals needed to get involved. We, the people, needed to make changes to the way we did/do things. We came to understand that to help ourselves we needed to actively engage; not simply sit back and hope some passive system would make everything better.

The time has come, once and for all, for “we the people” to take a stand against spam! Clearly, the mammoth companies, like McAfee, Cisco, Symantec, Google, Barracuda Networks, etc., that make anti-spam filtering tools have failed to save our environment from this polluting scourge. If we, as individuals and collectively as businesses, don’t start looking beyond the status quo with respect to failed anti-spam filtering, we are not only going to loose e-mail as a tool, we are going to hasten the deterioration of our physical environment.

Sendio in the Boston Globe

Its not much, but we did get a mention in the Boston Globe

Other companies, like Sendio Inc. in Irvine, Calif., and Spam Arrest LLC of Seattle, use a “challenge-response” technique. Send an e-mail to a challenge-response user and you’ll get an automated reply, asking you to type in some words or numbers. This will prove your e-mail came from a human being and not a spam-spewing computer. If you send the correct reply, all your future messages are delivered immediately, but spam messages can’t get through.

For the record… Sendio’s sender address verification technology (SAV), also know generically as challenge response, DOES NOT require anyone to “…type in some words or numbers.” Our technology requires a simple “REPLY & SEND.” and ONLY in the case where the sender is completely unknown to the intended recipient. For example, anyone I send an e-mail to is automatically added to my personal accept-list, thus, is NEVER subjected to the address verification process.

What’s up with “scareware?”

Fear is used, universally, as a means to control people. Governments use it. Large businesses use it. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that “cyber bad guys” us it. Why do they use fear… Because it is is effective!

I often ask myself who comes up with terms like “scareware?” Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Scareware” is, at its core, a Trojan horse. In most cases, the “malicious security software” that plagues computers around the world is willingly installed by the victims themselves. The purveyors of these threats, in many cases, get their victims to pay for the software under the guise that it is, itself, software designed to protect the user.

The easiest and best way for people to avoid falling victim to these types of attacks/threats is to use common sense.

  • Don’t install software unless you can verify its  source is legitimate and reputable.
  • Before installing any new software on your computer,  make sure your anti-virus software is enabled and its definitions are  up-to-date.
  • Whatever you do, don’t disable your anti-virus  software. No legitimate software should ever require such an action.
  • Finally, before installing any new software, make sure  your important files have been backed-up to a location off your  computer.

In the end, even people who follow all the best security practices sometimes still get hurt by malicious software. However, by following the 4 steps mentioned above, your risk of getting burned is greatly reduced, and even if you do get burned, at least your will not loose your data.